Lean UX PDF Summary – Jeff Gothelf

Lean UX PDF Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience

You know what lean methodology is, but not sure how to apply its principles in your design & development firm?

Enter Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden to give you a lesson or two in “Lean UX.”

Who Should Read “Lean UX”? And Why?

O’Reilly’s “Lean Series” – edited by none other than Eric Reis – brings us a new title: “Lean UX.”

Obviously, designers and developers should benefit the most from reading – and applying – the content of this book.

However, project and program managers should find interesting advice here as well.

About Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden
Jeff Gothelf

Jeff Gothelf is an author, designer, and Agile practitioner.

A sought-after international speaker, he is one of the world’s leading voices on topics such as Agile UX and Lean UX.

Together with Josh Seiden, he has co-authored one more book, “Sense & Respond.”

Josh Seiden is an author and UX designer.

He is the founder and past CEO of the Interaction Design Association and is currently a principal at NEO.

Prior to this role, he has held the positions of product design at Liquidnet, and design leader at Cooper.

“Lean UX PDF Summary”

The lean methodology has been stirring up quite a buzz ever since it was first introduced by Eric Ries in his 2011 bestselling book, “The Lean Startup.”

In the meantime, O’Reilly Media has published a series of related books – such as Ash Maurya’s “Running Lean” or Yoskovitz and Croll’s “Lean Analytics” – and quite a few companies have explicitly adopted the lean methodology in their ways of working, General Electric and Dropbox probably the most famous names of the bunch.

Some other companies implicitly use lean business models and practices, since, well, in many cases it is reasonable to use them.

Amazon, for example, makes updates, on average, 5 times in a minute – and what is “lean” if not shortening development cycles through experimentation and iterative product releases?

Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden claim that it’s about time we translated Eric Ries’ vision more methodically in the terminology of user experience design.

It’s only appropriate that we start off with Gothelf’s and Seiden’s disclaimer:

Lean UX is not a set of rules. Instead, it’s an approach that you adopt.

And just like Ries’ lean startup methodology had a precursor in Taiichi Ohno’s lean manufacturing system of the 1990s, Lean UX can firmly plant its roots in the history of the design thinking method, whose five main principles (learning from people, finding patterns, using design principles, making things tangible, and iterating relentlessly) serve as more than just an inspiration for Lean UX.

Its definition?

In the words of the authors,

[Lean UX is] the practice of bringing the true nature of a product to light faster, in a collaborative, cross-functional way.

We work to build a shared understanding of the customers, their needs, our proposed solutions, and our definitions of success.

We prioritize learning over delivery to build evidence for our decisions.

Next, Gothelf and Seiden go over the numerous principles on which Lean UX is more specifically based, and these are all, in turn, organized into three groups:

#1. Principles to Guide Team Organization

A Lean UX team is a small, dedicated, collocated and problem-focused team.

This means that its few members (never more than 10) should collaborate closely and share a similar focus, related to one specific problem.

Also – and this is very important – a Lean UX team should be cross-functional which would grant it just enough autonomy: all Lean UX teams should be self-sufficient and empowered.

#2. Principles to Guide Culture

The Lean UX culture of your company starts with you labeling everything as an assumption until proven otherwise by the Lean UX process. This will allow you to move from a state of doubt to a state of certainty through actual work, instead of through a debate.

Since “Lean UX measures progress in terms of explicitly defined outcomes,” these become more important than outputs. As opposed to outputs (features and services), outcomes are meaningful and measurable changes in customer behavior.

Having your outcome in mind should help you remove waste (i.e., anything that doesn’t lead to the outcome) and, moreover, reach a shared understanding.

Because Lean UX is always about the team and never about the rock stars, gurus and ninjasthey usually create poisonous work environment.

Finally, Lean UX is also about a company’s permission to fail; this permission inspires experimentation and contributes to ultimate greatness.

#3. Principles to Guide Process

All processes should be chunked up in small units, or batches; this mitigates risk in that it allows for changing course at almost all times without ever going too far.

In addition, all processes should be based on the idea of continuous discovery, i.e., doing research “on a frequent basis and a regular rhythm.”

Speaking of research: since it should be user-centered, you should GOOB! If you still don’t know what you should do, it would be only fair on our part to add that GOOB is Steve Blank’s fancy way of saying get out of the building.

Externalizing your work is a must: the earlier it gets to the public, the earlier you know which changes you should make.

This is closely related to the fifth process-guiding principle, i.e., staying away from over-analysis: “there is more value in creating the first version of an idea than spending half a day debating its merits in a conference room.”

Finally, getting out of the deliverables business means shifting from documenting processes to achieving desirable outcomes.

Now that you know the principles of Lean UX design let’s see how you can put them into practice in our “Key Lessons” section.

Key Lessons from “Lean UX”

1.      Drive Your Vision Through Outcomes and Collaboration
2.      Lean UX Is All About MVPs and Feedbacks
3.      Integrate and Support Lean UX: The 10 Rules

Drive Your Vision Through Outcomes and Collaboration

Lean UX begins with a concern for the outcome – and going straight for it!

So, no deliverables, definitions, and “requirements”; just assumptions and results.

After determining your hypotheses (based on the outcome) – create multidisciplinary teams and proto-personas of your potential buyers.

Then, chunk up the project into small batches and start externalizing as soon as possible, so that you can move from assumptions to facts, from doubt to certainty.

Don’t worry about the details: everything will come in its place in time.

Lean UX Is All About MVPs and Feedbacks

Testing your hypotheses means building MVPs, i.e., minimum viable products.

You don’t need to design the perfect weekly newsletter if you want to test the hypothesis whether a weekly newsletter will increase your market share!

Just design a simple sketch and/or design it online using the simplest possible wireframes.

If it works – you’ll do it better as soon as possible.

If it doesn’t – why waste time and energy to design a cutting-edge weekly newsletter when you can use it for something else?

That’s basically how feedback helps: every iteration is better than the last one because you have more and more info on what should make it perfect.

Integrate and Support Lean UX: The 10 Rules

To integrate, adjust and optimize Lean UX, it’s good if you follow these 10 simple rules:

#1. You can’t be a prophet: test your ideas and assumptions.
#2. Focus on outcomes, not deliverables.
#3. Break down silos by creating cross-disciplinary teams.
#4. Everybody should collaborate with everybody: teams should be physically together or, if necessary otherwise, use collaborative online tools. Work is no place for ninjas, gurus and rock stars.
#5. Small problems should be handled by small teams.
#6. Big Design Up Front is a myth – and it may cost you a lot of money; so don’t worry about appearances.
#7. Start with notes and sketches and experiment!
#8. Improve and iterate constantly.
#9. Consider the perspective of the others.
#10. Communicate.

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“Lean UX Quotes”

Collaborative design is still a designer-led activity. It’s the designer’s responsibility to not only call collaborative design meetings but to facilitate them, as well. Click To Tweet

Focus on maximizing two factors: increasing collaboration between client and agency, and working to change the focus from outputs to outcomes. Click To Tweet

MVPs help us test our assumptions – will this tactic achieve the desired outcome? – while minimizing the work we put into unproven ideas. Click To Tweet

The most effective way we found to rally a team around a design direction is through collaboration. Click To Tweet

If you want your stakeholders – both those managing you and those dependent on you – to stay out of your way, make sure that they are aware of your plans. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“Lean UX” has a lot to offer – from applying lean principles to improve UX (as the subtitle of its first edition looks like) to designing great products with agile teams (as the second edition of the book is subtitled).

All in all, a great introduction to UX (even if you have not been introduced so far) and an even better manual for those who are stuck in a less systemic UX approach, which, ironically, means also much more rigorous and more prone-to-failure approach.

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Mapping Innovation PDF Summary – Greg Sattel

Mapping Innovation PDFA Playbook for Navigating a Disruptive Age

With the digital revolution, a new era of innovation begun, brutally and succinctly summed up in the dictum “innovate or die.”

In “Mapping Innovation,” Greg Satell provides a lifeline for the companies on their deathbeds or in the maternity ward, by systematizing “the strategies of the world’s most inventive startups, corporations, and scientific institutions.”

Your only job: to apply them.

Who Should Read “Mapping Innovation”? And Why?

“Mapping Innovation” is not especially innovative in its first part – where it counters innovation “Eureka” fairytales with stories of collaboration and combination – but it is satisfactorily novel in Parts 2 and 3, where it offers a powerful framework for mapping innovation space and introduces you to the challenges of innovating in the digital age.

Read the first part if you are interested in the history of innovation and memorable anecdotes; read the latter two for their applicability and practical value.

Greg SatellAbout Greg Satell

Greg Satell is a bestselling author and innovation advisor.

After spending a decade and a half building and managing business in Eastern Europe (Poland, Ukraine, Russia, and Turkey), he got a job as SVP at Moxie Interactive, a division of Publicis Groupe.

He is currently a regular contributor to “Inc” and “Harvard Business Review.”

“Mapping Innovation” is his first and, so far, only book.

“Mapping Innovation PDF Summary”

On December 9, 1968, something miraculous happened at the Association for Computing Machinery / Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (ACM/IEEE) in San Francisco.

About thirty years later – when, retroactively, many could see the revolutionary significance of the event – Steven Levy (in his book about the life and times of the Macintosh, “Insanely Great”) would dub the happening “the mother of all demos.”

So, what was it?

Some Dr. Strangelove-inspired Doomsday weapon capable of trouncing the Soviets in a second? A Vietnam-related report which resulted in the Vietnamization program? The key insight which helped NASA go from Apollo 8 (about to be launched) to Apollo 11 in half a year?

No, of course not – you would know if it was one of those!

And, believe it or not, “the mother of all demos” was something even more notable.

Namely, a demonstration of “augmented human intellect” by “a mild-mannered engineer” named Douglas Engelbart.

To understand the context, just don’t forget that it is 1968 and that, in those days, very few people had ever seen a computer, let alone used one. To almost everybody on the planet, computers were about as mysterious then as, say, quantum physics is today.

But here was Engelbart, dressed in a short-sleeved white shirt and a thin black tie, standing in front of a 20-foot-high screen and explaining in his low-key voice how ‘intellectual workers’ could actually interact with computers. What’s more, he began to show them. As he began to type a document on a simple keyboard, words started to appear, which he could then edit, rearrange, and add graphics and sound to, while all the time navigating around the screen with a small device he called a mouse. Nobody had seen anything remotely like it before.

Unsurprisingly, the people present in the audience were fascinated.

Two of them – Bob Taylor and Allan Kay – would use Engelbart’s ideas to develop the Xerox Alto, which, when introduced on March 1, 1973, became the first computer capable of supporting an operating system based on GUI, aka, the first truly personal computer.

Six years later, in exchange for Apple stocks, Steve Jobs would receive a demonstration of the technology behind the Xerox Alto, and, with great fanfare, the Macintosh was launched in 1984, 16 years after the mother of all demos!

Add to all of this the fact that Engelbart himself was inspired by Vannevar Bush’s 1945 essay “As We May Think” which, in turn, could have only been written at the time John von Neumann was working the Von Neumann architecture model and only after Alan Turing devised the concept of the “universal computer.”

We could go on, but the point should be already blatantly obvious by now:

Innovation is never a single event, and… rather than following a linear path, effective innovators combine the wisdom of diverse fields to synthesize information across domains. If a problem is difficult enough, it needs to borrow from multiple fields of expertise. Innovation, more than anything else, is combination.

As Walter Isaacson has beautifully shown, rather than a recent radical event in the mind of a single intellect, the digital revolution was actually a process lasting for more than two centuries and needing the brilliance of “a group of hackers, geniuses, and geeks.”

Ironically, owing to the success of this very same revolution, now you and your company don’t really have the luxury of innovating (or recognizing innovation) with such a slow pace anymore.

On the contrary, you have to act as fast as possible.

And “Mapping Innovation” offers a few valuable tools which can help you do that.

We look over them in our “Key Lessons” section.

Key Lessons from “Mapping Innovation”

1.      Innovation Is All About Defining the Problem
2.      The Four Innovation Domains
3.      The Innovation Playbook

Innovation Is All About Defining the Problem

As Greg Satell notes, “it is only by framing problems effectively that you can find the approach most likely to solve them.”

Consequently, all innovation starts with you defining the “innovation space” particular to your needs and expertise, by giving an answer to the question: “How well is the problem defined?” Only then you can answer the second question of crucial importance: “Who is best placed to solve it?”

For example, the iPod was invented when Steve Jobs relayed his personal vision to the Apple team with the sentence: “I want to carry 1,000 songs in my pocket.”

This, obviously, meant two things: a hard drive small enough to fit in a person’s pocket, but with sufficient space for 1,000 mp3 files. One company – Toshiba – could provide that, so Apple formed a partnership with the Japanese conglomerate.

The rest is history.

The Four Innovation Domains

Once a problem is identified, its solution should be assigned to the most appropriate innovation “domain” your company has.

In the optimal case, it should have four:

#1. Basic research. Unlike, say, IBM and Microsoft, most firms don’t have the money to establish this domain, which is not really a problem, since basic research is constantly done by scientists and academics, so companies are able to simply monitor it. Use either strategy.

#2. Sustaining innovation. If you want to stay competitive, you need to constantly upgrade your technology. “New and improved” is the modern way of saying “we’re still in the game.”

#3. Breakthrough innovation. Charles Darwin formulated the theory of evolution under the influence of Thomas Malthus, and Albert Einstein was inspired by David Hume for his theory of relativity. IN a nutshell, everything evolves – but some of the steps along the ladder spell “breakthrough.”

#4. Disruptive innovation. Clayton Christensen devised the concept of “disruptive innovation” in his 1997 classic “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” demonstrating that successful companies may lose their market leadership even if they do everything right, on account of some other less successful startups capable of offering brand-new business models through their products.

The Innovation Playbook

You can build your own innovation playbook, but, when doing that, be sure to adhere to these six basic principles:

#1. Actively seek out good problems. As we stated above, innovation is all about defining the right problem.

#2. Choose problems that suit your organization’s capabilities, culture and strategy. There’s no point in copying someone just because that someone is successful.

#3. Ask the right questions to map the innovation space. Then, just choose the right domain.

#4. Leverage platforms to access ecosystems of talent, technology and innovation. In that order.

#5. Build a collaborative culture. You need a cross-disciplinary team. Emphasis on both words.

#6. Understand that innovation is a messy business. Or: you’ll fail many times before you reach a breakthrough. To quote Thomas Edison: “If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.”

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“Mapping Innovation Quotes”

A disruptive strategy is fundamentally iterative. It is not a purposeful march toward a set of tangible strategic objectives but thrives on experimentation and agility. Click To Tweet

It takes more than a single big idea to change the world, and it can take decades after the initial breakthroughs for the true impact of an idea to become clear. Click To Tweet

Big thoughts are fun to romanticize, but it’s many small insights coming together that bring big ideas into the world. Click To Tweet

We teach people that everything that matters happens between your ears, when in fact it actually happens between people. (Via Sandy Pentland) Click To Tweet

Our brains are, in fact, a billion times more efficient than today’s computer architectures. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“Mapping Innovation” is a pretty neat innovation manual that should be helpful to both start-ups and large firms.

And it’s well-written, so you should have no problems differentiating theory from practice or understanding which parts of it refer to your needs specifically.

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The Four Lenses of Innovation PDF Summary

The Four Lenses of Innovation PDFA Power Tool for Creative Thinking

Want to become an innovator?

The trick is to look at the world a bit differently.

And Rowan Gibson says that all you need to do that are “The Four Lenses of Innovation.”

Who Should Read “The Four Lenses of Innovation”? And Why?

There’s an innovator inside all of us,” writes Rowan Gibson, adding that “literally everyone on Earth has the potential for creative thinking because it’s an innate human capability.

“The Four Lenses of Innovation” attempts to awake this innate capability and is for everyone who wants to make the world a more advanced or, simply, a better place.

Rowan GibsonAbout Rowan Gibson

Rowan Gibson is a consultant and bestselling author, one of the world’s leading experts on business innovation.

Labeled “Mr. Innovation,” “the Innovation Grandmaster,” and “the W. Edwards Deming of innovation” Gibson has delivered keynote speeches and seminars in over 60 countries and has authored three books translated into over 20 languages.

In addition to “The Four Lenses of Innovation,” these are “Rethinking the Future” and “Innovation to the Core.”

Gibson is also the co-founder of http://innovationexcellence.com/, one of the world’s most popular innovation websites.

“The Four Lenses of Innovation PDF Summary”

Most ancient cultures had no discernible concept of genius whatsoever.

In fact, that’s why we don’t know the name of the author of, say, “The Epic of Gilgamesh,” the very first work of literature in history.

It’s not that it was difficult to put the name of the poet above the first line of the work!

However, according to the Sumerians and many other cultures throughout history, this would have been all but a blasphemy.

After all, talents were the very definition of divine gifts, and presenting something that doesn’t belong to you as yours, is certainly not something people would admire.

Hell, even the Ancient Greeks weren’t that much above this notion!

Plato specifically, who not only didn’t like poets but also believed that it is quite easily demonstratable that they had absolutely no control over their artistry, being nothing more than simple “instruments of the Muses.”

The Romans inherited this belief, modifying it a bit and eventually ascribing all creative powers of an individual to his tutelary deity suitably named genius, i.e., household guardian spirit.

Put simply, the Romans believed that each person is part human, part divine, and that, logically, his divine nature (the genius) is the one responsible for all great works of the mind or the heart.

After the collapse of the Roman Empire, the Catholic Church ruled most of Europe for the following ten centuries, now appropriately remembered as the Dark Ages.

Following the Judeo-Christian tradition, the Catholic Church made sure that it transformed into vice all of the things we now consider virtues: individuality, originality, innovation.

During this period, it was sinful not to conform, and it was egotistic to think that you are capable of creating something: God was the only Creator, and artists and scientists were merely mediums of His Will.

And then the Renaissance came and radically changed everything!

Suddenly, God stopped being the center of the Universe, and inventiveness, all-embracing curiosity and a yearning for to-the-ends-of-the-world exploration became highly desirable traits:

Whereas the medieval mind had been severely suppressed, the Renaissance mind was set free to discover the beauty and the wonder and the significance of every possible phenomenon.

It is to the great thinkers of the Renaissance that we owe the four modes of innovative thinking or, as Rowan Gibson labels them, the four lenses of innovation which you can still use today to break through the known barriers.

These are: “challenging orthodoxies,” “harnessing trends,” “leveraging resources” and “understanding needs.”

Let’s have a look at each of them.

Key Lessons from “The Four Lenses of Innovation”

1.      The First Lens: Challenging Orthodoxies
2.      The Second Lens: Harnessing Trends
3.      The Third Lens: Leveraging Resources
4.      The Fourth Lens: Understanding Needs

The First Lens: Challenging Orthodoxies

Etymologically, “orthodoxy” means “right opinion” or “right belief” – and there’s a reason why it was considered reasonable to be orthodox for millennia.

Orthodoxies codify concepts, ideas, and best practices and they work great on the collective level.

After all, why should you question the way something is done if millions of people before you have used the same method to do it?

Orthodoxies eliminate the need to think which is great if you like to preserve mental energy for something else.

However, it is obviously not if you want to be an innovator.

And this is where many innovators start: challenging conventional modes of thinking.

Have this in mind every time somebody says that “some things are done certain way for a reason.” Analyze: what could that reason be? Is there any other way to do it? Has technology changed in the meantime to make this other way a feasible solution?

And that crazy idea that guy had some time ago… well, let’s see if it was crazy enough to work!

The Second Lens: Harnessing Trends

You don’t have to be the first to be the best.

The iPhone, the iPod, the iPad, the Apple Watch – these are all merely adaptations of products which existed before them.

And, don’t know if you remember, but Yahoo was here before Google.

The point – in many cases – is to recognize the emerging trends and focus your attention in their direction.

Innovators have been doing this for centuries: in the 1870s, no less than 23 people worldwide worked on inventing the light bulb!

In other words, be perceptive!

Analyze the trends and discover which product seems most likely to revolutionize and/or disrupt an industry.

Then, simply go for it!

The Third Lens: Leveraging Resources

They say that necessity is the mother of invention for a reason!

Case in point: when Steven Spielberg realized that he didn’t have enough money to make a mechanical shark, he decided to film the action of “Jaws” from its viewpoint!

The result?

Some of the scariest scenes ever filmed!

Similarly, even though Corning developed its Ribbon Machine process to make light bulbs, soon it started using it to make radio vacuum tubes.

So, reevaluate your resources, reexamine your skills and assets!

See what you have and whether some of the things you already own or have devised can be readapted in a way which will help you take advantage of the new markets.

More often than not, you’ll be surprised to see how much of your potential you’re not using!

The Fourth Lens: Understanding Needs

Understanding needs basically means “innovating from the customer backward.”

Or: instead of using the third lens – selling what you already have – you can also use the fourth one: providing what the others would buy.

After all, that’s why even McDonald’s is not the same everywhere: in India, you can buy Paneer Wraps from its restaurants, and in Japan there’s also a chicken veggie burger on its menu!

Why?

Because the Indian and the Japanese people said so!

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“The Four Lenses of Innovation Quotes”

Creative ideas don’t just occur to us spontaneously. (Our minds actually build them from a unique chain of associations and connections, sometimes over a considerable period of time.) Click To Tweet

Our brains save mental energy by learning and storing familiar patterns for automatic recognition and use. Click To Tweet

Many executives are afraid of the kind of reflective thinking that could lead to disruption. Click To Tweet

Try to identify and systematically question the fixed patterns that exist inside your own company and across your industry. Click To Tweet

Innovators try to solve common problems and frustrations in ways that make life easier, more convenient and more enjoyable for the customer. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“The Four Lenses of Innovation” demystifies innovation as something much more methodical and systemic than it is usually thought and presents itself as a power tool for creative thinking.

That may be true, but we kind of feel that it treats innovation as something much simpler than it actually is and that it inadvertently starts from a position it takes someone years to achieve.

Namely, the position of the highly competent and skillful intellectual with at least some kind of a vision for the future.

And that is not everyone.

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Driving the Sustainability of Production Systems with Fourth Industrial Revolution Innovation PDF

Driving the Sustainability of Production Systems with Fourth Industrial Revolution Innovation PDFOne can’t be blamed for feeling that the Third Industrial Revolution barely started yesterday, and the World Economic Forum says we are already in the midst of another one.

The goal of this one?

Driving the Sustainability of Production Systems with Innovation.”

Who Should Read “Driving the Sustainability of Production Systems with Fourth Industrial Revolution Innovation”? And Why?

When something has a boring and ridiculously long title as “Driving the Sustainability of Production Systems with Fourth Industrial Revolution Innovation” – you can be all but sure that it is a white paper.

And when that white paper is written by the World Economic Forum – it’s safe to assume that you are not reading about the present, but that you are, in fact, getting a glimpse into the future.

At merely 60 pages, the article convincingly argues that competition and profits mean little without proper sustainability practices because, in the absence of the latter, there may be nothing to compete for and nothing to profit from in the blink of an eye.

So, leaders and managers, governments and corporations, take note: the future depends on you implementing the advices from this white paper!

And we are not exaggerating!

World Economic ForumAbout the World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is a Swiss non-profit foundation based in Geneva, “committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas.”

Every year, the Forum organizes a meeting in Davos, which brings together over 2,500 business and political leaders, Nobel Prize-winning economists, celebrities and journalists to discuss – in no less than three days – “the most pressing issues facing the world.”

This meeting has even generated a neologism, “Davos Man,” usually pejoratively used to mean a “supranational wealthy member of the global elite.”

“Driving the Sustainability of Production Systems with Fourth Industrial Revolution Innovation PDF”

As we all know, the First Industrial Revolution started in the second half of the 18th century and used steam and water power to mechanize production.

The Second took place in the last half a century before the First World War and this one used electric power to create mass production.

The Third Industrial Revolution is the one most of us have lived our lives through – it is commonly known as the Digital Revolution, during which we used information technology to automate processes.

Well, brace yourself: as Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of WEF announced a while ago, a new, Fourth Industrial Revolution, has begun.

This one is building on the third and is characterized by “a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.”

So, think AI, robotics, biotechnology, autonomous vehicles, 3D printing, i.e., technology embedded in society and biology.

Fortunately, one must say, since we’re on the brink of a sixth extinction and we must do something about it now, lest we want to wake up in a tomorrow when nothing can be done anymore.

Because our economy has been unsustainable for much too long.

We now know (or most of the world acknowledges)” – states WEF’s white paper – “a simple truth: the way the world manufactures cannot be sustained. The ‘take-make-dispose’ linear economy approach results in significant resource inefficiency.

And here are the facts:

Global manufacturing consumes about 54% of the world’s energy and a fifth of its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Industrial waste makes up to half of the world’s total waste generated each year. Production activities are gobbling up primary resources; metal ore extraction, for example, rose by 133% over the last three decades. At the same time, resource extraction from non-renewable stocks grew, while extraction from renewable stocks declined.

In other words, we do not have enough resources to keep up the growth.

The problem is that, in fact, we’ve never had them, and that everybody has known this for quite some time: century-old predictions have estimated that, unless we develop better practices, at one point, we’ll use up all of our resources and be left with nothing more but deserted industrial capacities and worldwide poverty.

Let us guess: you know about the peak oil problem ever since you were a little child, right?

Now, why have we been purposefully turning a blind eye on a problem as enormous as this for so long?

One word: capitalism.

Simply put, it was too expensive for corporations to care about problems such as the world or unsustainable production because this would have stopped production altogether.

So, as businesses grew more and more efficient in extracting and using resources, they grew more and more ineffective in preserving them.

Governments usually didn’t help one bit, because even though the “profits from destroying the planet were privatized,” “the cost for addressing the damage was socialized.”

In other words, in the eyes of the business leaders, sustainability was a cost only taxpayers’ money can and should cover.

It’s time to put an end to this!

Due to the technological advances of the Third and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, sustainability has not been a cost for a while; in fact, it is already a major business opportunity. One can even argue that, with more and more people being conscious of what we are doing to the planet, sustainability has become an important competitive advantage.

And this is where the Accelerating Sustainable Production (ASP) project of the World Economic Forum System Initiative on Shaping the Future of Production comes into play.

Its final goal?

To “harness innovation to strengthen competitiveness while delivering increased efficiency, improved human well-being and less environmental damage.”

How?

Through financing innovation in five cross-industry areas which hold the most promise for accelerating sustainable production.

Let’s have a look at all of them!

Key Lessons from “Driving the Sustainability of Production Systems with Fourth Industrial Revolution Innovation”

1.      Advanced Remanufacturing
2.      New Materials
3.      Advanced Agriculture
4.      Factory Efficiency
5.      Traceability

Advanced Remanufacturing

Thanks to developments in IT, new manufacturing cost-effective methods are revolutionizing production processes in the automotive and the electronics industry, making them both more efficient and greener.

New Materials

Thanks to advances in nano- and biotechnology, new materials are quickly disposing of traditional materials, becoming not only better, but also cheaper. These include green electronics, new types of packaging, and various alternatives to meat, leather, and plastic.

Advanced Agriculture

We are now more precise than ever, and new technologies are capable of optimizing farming decisions “on everything from fertilizer and irrigation to harvesting time and seed spacing.” And better planning doesn’t only translate into better business opportunity, but it also means greater care for things such as food scarcity and ecosystem health.

Factory Efficiency

The Internet of Things has already introduced us to an age in which factories are basically producing by themselves, in an all but near-dark environment, while shortening the supply chains and reducing the consumption of non-renewable resources.

Traceability

The widely debated blockchain technology – coupled with data tags and sensors – is already allowing companies to safely trace and verify all relevant information about a product, whether it is the origin of its materials or the supply chain through which it has traveled. In the very near future, this should ensure fair earnings for small suppliers, while eliminating low-value-added processes.

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“Driving the Sustainability of Production Systems with Fourth Industrial Revolution Innovation Quotes”

Our aim in the Accelerating Sustainable Production project is to leverage production as a tool for meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and as a source for business competitiveness. Click To Tweet

Sustainability has been viewed as a cost. That perception needs to change to ensure we collectively understand that it can also represent a major business opportunity. Click To Tweet

In the past, profits from destroying the planet were privatized while the cost for addressing the damage was socialized. Click To Tweet

The way the world manufactures cannot be sustained. The ‘take-make-dispose’ linear economy approach results in significant resource inefficiency. Click To Tweet

The production of the future will cater to rapidly evolving consumer needs by delivering products and services within a well-designed supply chain that fully embeds innovation and sustainability. Click To Tweet

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Our Critical Review

Dense with data and statistics, outstandingly well-structured and well informed, “Driving the Sustainability of Production Systems with Fourth Industrial Revolution Innovation” is a well-researched, well-written and finely illustrated white paper of utmost importance.

Dear reader, if you are in a position to decide, know this: the earlier you implement it – the better for all of us.

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You Don’t Have to Be an Expert to Solve Big Problems PDF Summary

You Don’t Have to Be an Expert to Solve Big Problems PDF“I’m no expert” shouldn’t be an excuse to avoid tackling a big problem.

On the contrary – it should be a stimulus.

Because, Tapiwa Chiwewe says in an inspirational 2017 TED Talk, “You Don’t Have to Be an Expert to Solve Big Problems.”

Who Should Read “You Don’t Have to Be an Expert to Solve Big Problems”? And Why?

A nine-minute lesson in anything is always worth the time.

Hell, you need more just to take a shower!

So, do yourself a favor and skip the rationales in this case: just listen to Tapiwa Chiwewe’s inspiring TED Talk.

Even if you don’t like it, you’ll lose nothing more than 518 seconds!

Tapiwa ChiweweAbout Tapiwa Chiwewe

Tapiwa Chiwewe is a manager at IBM Research Africa with a Ph.D. in Computer Engineering from the University of Pretoria.

He began his career in academia, serving as a junior lecturer at his alma mater, but soon he moved on to CSIR (the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research), where he worked as a senior engineer in the mechatronics and micro manufacturing group.

In 2015 he joined IBM Research, where he has worked on several large-scale projects, related to solar system design, asset maintenance optimization, and, most relevantly, air quality management.

“You Don’t Have to Be an Expert to Solve Big Problems PDF Summary”

Let’s start this summary with some staggering statistics.

Namely, according to data from the World Health Organization, in 2012, household and ambient pollution was responsible for one in seven deaths worldwide, mostly, of course, in low- and middle-income countries.

Yes, that means that malaria and HIV/AIDS bring about fewer deaths than pollution; and that even in Africa, more children die from air pollution than from, say, childhood malnutrition and unsafe sanitation.

Even more, according to a study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, this comes to a huge economic cost as well: almost half a trillion US dollars in 2013 alone!

Now, Tapiwa Chiwewe is a South-African computer engineer, who works as a manager of the advanced and applied AI group at IBM Research Africa, and, really, shouldn’t know – or even, as brutal as it may sound, care about – these things.

After all, there are many people in the world who are much more competent than him in the field and who, consequently and deservedly, earn money from doing just that.

And that’s what Tapiwa Chiwewe believed as well for most of his life.

However, one day, while driving to work in Johannesburg, he noticed “a haze hanging over the city,” and, as he soon realized, this haze was actually “an enormous cloud of air pollution.”

Appalled by the possibility that his beloved city of “bright and vivid sunsets” may be overrun by “a dull haze” in the future, Chiwewe decided to do something.

Of course, knowing absolutely nothing about pollution, the first thing he could do was fairly simple: learn.

And that’s how he discovered the information we listed in the introduction to this summary – in addition to, we suppose, hundreds and hundreds of similar facts.

But, obviously, that wasn’t enough: it merely proved to him that air pollution was a serious problem, and that, if untreated, it may result in an ecological catastrophe of biblical proportions.

So, Chiwewe started consulting city officials and local scientists to get to the bottom of the problem and help them find a solution together.

What he learned during the process was something nobody should ever forget:

Even if you’re not an expert in a particular domain, your outside expertise may hold the key to solving big problems within that domain. Sometimes the unique perspective you have can result in unconventional thinking that can move the needle, but you need to be bold enough to try. That’s the only way you’ll ever know.

So, you already know that this story has a somewhat happy ending.

Unsurprisingly – let us not forget, we’re dealing with a computer engineer here – the happy ending, in this case, is an “online air-quality management platform.”

Designed by Chiwewe and fed with weather and air pollution records provided by the experts, the platform uses AI and ML algorithms to detect and predict pollution trends in real-time.

Its success?

A 120-day pilot program demonstrated “a tight correlation” between the forecasting data and the data gathered on the ground.

In other words, the platform could indeed see into the future!

The benefits are numerous, and it would suffice to merely list them:

Citizens can make better decisions about their daily movements and about where to settle their families. We can predict adverse pollution events ahead of time, identify heavy polluters, and they can be ordered by the relevant authorities to scale back their operations. Through assisted scenario planning, city planners can also make better decisions about how to extend infrastructure, such as human settlements or industrial zones.

Chiwewe’s beautiful point:

The platform was the product of a collaborative effort.

Just as he couldn’t do it without the experts, the experts wouldn’t have been able to do it without him.

And he was – and still is – no expert.

So, the next time you come across a big problem – especially one which may affect you or the wellbeing of your children – don’t absolve yourself from responsibility because of a lack of expertise.

As Chiwewe’s actions have shown, you really don’t have to be an expert to help others solve even the biggest problems out there.

Key Lessons from “You Don’t Have to Be an Expert to Solve Big Problems”

1.      Air Pollution Is a Serious Problem
2.      Your Outside Expertise May Hold the Key to Solving Big Problems
3.      We Should Tackle Big Problems by Collaborating

Air Pollution Is a Serious Problem

The World Health Organization attributed almost 14 percent of all deaths worldwide to household and ambient air pollution.

In other words, air pollution is responsible for more deaths than HIV/AIDS, malaria, or malnutrition.

It’s a serious problem – and it needs to be solved!

Your Outside Expertise May Hold the Key to Solving Big Problems

Tapiwa Chiwewe is a computer engineer, but he didn’t want to sit idly aside once he noticed the smog-covered skyline of Johannesburg.

So, he contacted experts and government officials to get to the bottom of the problem.

The result?

He learned a lot from them, but they learned a lot from him too!

Namely, that it is possible to use Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning algorithms to predict pollution trends.

So, together, they built an online air-quality management platform which basically works the same way the weather forecast does!

And that magnificent thing happened because Chiwewe didn’t want to remain quiet, freeing himself from responsibility with phrases such as “I’m no expert.”

He actually wanted to do something.

And he got the opportunity.

We Should Tackle Big Problems by Collaborating

Just as genius isn’t born in isolation, great ideas rarely emerge where there is no interaction and collaboration.

So, when they read the story of our times, may future generations remember not exceptional men with extraordinary biographies, but united humanity with life-affirming goals and imperishable dreams.

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“You Don’t Have to Be an Expert to Solve Big Problems Quotes”

Even if you're not an expert in a particular domain, your outside expertise may hold the key to solving big problems within that domain. Click To Tweet

Sometimes the unique perspective you have can result in unconventional thinking that can move the needle, but you need to be bold enough to try. Click To Tweet

Sometimes just one fresh perspective, one new skill set, can make the conditions right for something remarkable to happen. Click To Tweet

Our willpower and imagination are a guiding light, enabling us to chart new paths and navigate through obstacles. Click To Tweet

So… the next time you find that there's some natural curiosity you have that is being piqued, and it's about something you care about, and you have some crazy or bold ideas… ask yourself this: Why not? Click To Tweet

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Our Critical Review

Even though Tapiwa Chiwewe oversimplifies some of the barriers non-experts face when moving from one field to another, “You Don’t Have to Be an Expert to Solve Big Problems” is still a powerful message.

The bottom line is you lose nothing if you try.

And resistance and motivation shouldn’t distract you; on the contrary, they should motivate you even further.

Concise and thought-provoking.

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The Leadership Challenge PDF Summary

The Leadership Challenge PDFHow to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations

Every once in a while, leaders come across a dead-end situation, which instigates a change of policy.

Being in such position forces them to learn and broaden their knowledge; a mentality that heralds intensity and vision.

In brief, we focus on the five core principles that every leader should take into account when forming a long-term strategy.

Let’s roll!

Who Should Read “The Leadership Challenge”? And Why?

This practical guide challenges all premises linked to leadership that is presented as a non-changeable entity. For argument’s sake, we firmly believe that robust and rigid approach is not suitable for leadership.

The Leadership Challenge” is just one branch that puts an accent on various elements that construct the executive character of multiple individuals.

As such, we highly recommend it to all leaders and managers who wish to tackle their restrictions and shallow beliefs.

About James M. Kouzes & Barry Z. Posner

James M. KouzesJames M. Kouzes can be regarded as a leadership expert, who spent his entire life in discovering new dimensions of management and handling problems.

He is also the author of several books.

Barry Z. PosnerBarry Z. Posner is a professor of leadership at Santa Clara University and an award-winning writer who co-authored a dozen books.  

“The Leadership Challenge PDF Summary”

The Leadership Challenge is literally one comprehensive case study which zooms in on determining the process of achieving great results on an organizational level. The mechanism of understanding the “The Five Practice Leadership” emerged as a result of extensive research conducted by Kouzes and Posner.

Their main goal was to discover what leaders must nail down to motivate others and distribute inspiration on all layers.

The first surveys in 1983 proved to be decisive regarding the issue many leaders had on their shoulders – lack of efficiency.

What is your method to enhance these numbers and wind up the discussion that leads to quarrels? As a leader, do you have a way by which you track your progress and challenge your ideas?

During the course of 3 decades, the authors managed to collect more than 75k responses or answers to the query, which serve as a cornerstone to their ultimate discovery.

In the survey, the defined five key practices or concepts which according to both Kouzes and Posner are decisive the overcome the challenge:

  • Model the Way
  • Inspire a Shared Vision
  • Challenge the Process
  • Enable Others to Act
  • Encourage the Heart.

Model the Way

Recognize their achievements and celebrate their successes on behalf of the organization. Model the way illustrates the great leaders’ ability to lead the way by being the example others should follow. In other words, unlike bosses, proficient leaders tend to cherish a specific behavior that induces freshness.

Model the Way” emboldens the organization to follow in the leader’s footsteps, which must pave the way with eagerness and passion. Once you have a broad understanding of what others like to hear, and how they wanted to be treated; you should devise a strategy to deliver a strong message.

Inspire a Shared Vision

Inspire a Shared Vision” as the name implies focuses on building that team cohesion and spirit which helps the organization to move towards the end goal collectively. Also known as “Exemplary leaders” these individuals have that six-sense to take the last minute shot and display their courageous efforts.

On top of that, great leaders possess the skills to anticipate various scenarios that may befall on the organization in the foreseeable future.

Without it, the company cannot drive people into the composite story which shares the vision and the principal values an employee must embrace. Building the right mentality, and finding the right set of balance can straight out many of the problems.

Challenge the Process

Challenge the Process” is literally asking all the persons involved in the decision-making process to adopt an out-of-the-box attitude which propels the company to push onwards. It stimulates the employees to share ideas and encourages them to stretch the boundaries of the organization.

Exemplary leaders are not merely focusing on establishing or enacting rules which can be construed as a way to monitor the operations. Their broader vision allows for sidestepping the need of micromanagement to occur and prompts them to aim attention at investing and learning.

Enable Others to Act

Enable Others to Act” is a process that cast doubt upon an attitude that amplifies the strength of a single decision-making body. To put it differently, it opposes the idea of building centralized chain-of-command which entirely neglects the process of creating an engaging-environment.

You have to believe, and you have to develop the skills to transmit your belief. It’s your passion that brings the vision to life. If you’re going to lead, you have to recognize that your enthusiasm and expressiveness are among the strongest allies in your efforts to generate commitment in others. Don’t underestimate your talents.

It’s unthinkable to force someone to apply your principles, especially if you are recognized for your notorious ability to deliver low-quality solutions. Strengthen the team means to provide guidance and offering them a hand to enhance their self-confidence and competence.  

Encourage the Heart

Kouzes accentuate the last practice “Encourage the Heart,” and he is particularly fond of monitoring the leadership role that boils down to the right mentality. Indeed, this one place emphasis on being genuinely sincere and friendly towards your co-workers and those that represent the company.

In the digital age, the companies realized the importance of nurturing a positive working atmosphere where collaboration and engagements are not obstructed by the organizational hierarchy.

Key Lessons from “The Leadership Challenge”

1.      The power of persuasion
2.      The idea of finishing in strong fashion
3.      Rise to the occasion

The power of persuasion

The tricky thing regarding the skills to influence another person is that it’s not ethical unless you deliver something of superior quality.

If your product or service is unsurpassable in all regards, you can then try to persuade the public by presenting the benefits of this magnificent breakthrough.

The idea of finishing in strong fashion

No one, and we mean not a single person on this planet can give you more than you deserve. Energetic and self-motivated leaders understand perfectly that it’s up to them to decide the outcome of the situation.

Learn from these gifted individuals who stick up for real values, not some quasi-policies.

Rise to the occasion

You will need to sharpen your communication skills to be able to convey anything of significance.

The alignment between the company’s vision and personal goals is tough, and being able to cross that bridge can make a huge difference.

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“The Leadership Challenge Quotes”

Exemplary leaders know that if they want to gain commitment and achieve the highest standards, they must be models of the behavior they expect of others. Click To Tweet Change is the province of leaders. It is the work of leaders to inspire people to do things differently, to struggle against uncertain odds, and to persevere toward a misty image of a better future. Click To Tweet Leading by example is more effective than leading by command. Click To Tweet You can’t command commitment; you have to inspire it. Click To Tweet When you give people a choice about being a part of what’s happening, they’re more likely to be committed to a project. Is there a piece of something you are working on that you could open up to others? Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Sometimes all we need is sheer will to reduce the stigma attached to problem-solving. In most occasions, we require expertise and years of experience in the field stimulated by the proper attitude.

In this book, you’ll learn how to acquire both, and what extra features you need to triumph over skepticism.

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A More Beautiful Question PDF Summary

A More Beautiful Question PDFThe Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas

Why do teachers award children points for giving them the right answer, and not for posing a good question?

What if the point of it all is to ask a more beautiful question?

How should you do that?

Well, let’s just ask Warren Berger.

Who Should Read “A More Beautiful Question”? And Why?

Contrary to what we’ve been taught at school, the learning process is less about memorizing answers and much more about asking questions.

Warren Berger’s book is interested in finding the best ones.

Consequently, it should be an essential read for anyone who wants to become an innovative thinker, since, after all, innovation stems from asking the right questions.

And since innovation is what drives all aspects of society, dear company leaders and entrepreneurs, even dearer scientists and artists – to quote Seth Godin – “what’s keeping you from reading this book right now?”

On a side note: dearest teachers, take copious notes!

Warren BergerAbout Warren Berger

Warren Berger is an American journalist and a bestselling author, who mainly writes about topics such as creativity and innovation.

Berger has written for a wide variety of publications, among others, the “Harvard Business Review” and “Fast Company.” He was also a longtime contributor at both “The New York Times” and the “Wired” magazine.

He has authored and co-authored 11 books, one of which was the critically acclaimed “Glimmer” which “Business Week” named one of the “Best Innovation & Design Books of 2009.”

A More Beautiful Question” was published in 2014, and recently it was announced that, by the end of the year, it should be joined by a companion piece, “The Book of Beautiful Questions.

Find out more at http://warrenberger.com.

“A More Beautiful Question PDF Summary”

Computers are useless,” said Picasso about half a century ago. “They only give you answers.

The point is – says Warren Berger, borrowing a line from the American poet E. E. Cummings – to find “a more beautiful question.”

That’s what people such as Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs did throughout it certainly did whole humanity a favor:

The author Stuart Firestein, in his fine book ‘Ignorance: How It Drives Science,’ argues that one of the keys to scientific discovery is the willingness of scientists to embrace ignorance – and to use questions as a means of navigating through it to new discoveries.

‘One good question can give rise to several layers of answers, can inspire decades-long searches for solutions, can generate whole new fields of inquiry, and can prompt changes in entrenched thinking,’ Firestein writes. ‘Answers, on the other hand, often end the process.’

So, in a nutshell, humanity profits more from a beautiful question than from a beautiful answer.

Then, why are we living in a world of answers?

In other words, why do the inquiring children in us grow to become the adults afraid of admitting that they don’t know the answer to some question?

You’ve guessed it already:

It’s our schools’ fault!

Preschool children, on average, ask their parents about 100 questions a day,” states Professor Kyung-Hee Kim, “By middle school, they’ve pretty much stopped asking.

And it’s not like they’ve learned all the answers in the meantime!

They’ve just memorized the answers to the questions their bosses want them to know.

In other words, schools were never meant to be outlets of creativity, but merely preparatory courses for a worker’s career.

And even though Google and Wikipedia have rendered memorizing answers practically useless, children are still awarded at our schools for knowing the correct answer to a specific question.

News flash: that’s only a mouse click away!

What’s not – is the beautiful question!

And according to Warren Berger – and a series of interviews with over 100 creative thinkers in science, technology, business, and entertainment – there are three kinds of beautiful questions: why, what-if, and how queries.

Key Lessons from “A More Beautiful Question”

1.      The Naivety of a Child: Behind the Zen of a “Why?” and a “Why Not?”
2.      Dream Your Way Out of a Problem: Ask Yourself “What If?”
3.      Acquire the Perseverance of the Realist: Experiment Through the “How?”

#1. The Naivety of a Child: Behind the Zen of a “Why?” and a “Why Not?”

I know one thing,” claimed Socrates. “And that is – that I know nothing.

Well, contrary to what they’ve taught you at school, it turns out that this is a great way to think about the world – naïvely, with a fresh mind.

Take, for example, Edwin Land, the guy who co-founded the Polaroid Corporation, widely considered the Steve Jobs before Jobs.

On a family vacation in the 1940s, his three-year-old daughter asked him why she couldn’t see the photo just taken by her father.

Edwin Land knew why: the only way you could develop the film was in a dark room. But he also knew that there was another bigger why in his daughter’s question.

And that was the one which – many years later – led to the invention of the Polaroid camera.

The actual Steve Jobs – the Edwin Land after Land – firmly believed in the power of this why-oriented beginner’s mind.

And he was influenced to do so by a 1970 Zen Buddhism classic written by Shunryu Suzuki, “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.”

The mind of the beginner is empty, free of the habits of the expert,” writes Suzuki in the book. Such a mind, he adds, is “open to all possibilities” and can see things as they are.

Knowledge imposes limitations, and that kinda helps when dealing with mechanical tasks.

Want to get creative?

Step back from it by asking why.

And you can even add a great twist: why not?

#2. Dream Your Way Out of a Problem: Ask Yourself “What If?”

Once you’re done with the whys and why nots, it’s time for some dreaming.

In other words, it’s time to ask yourself the what ifs.

Discovery depends on questions such as these.

Because a “what if” question gives you the right mental foundation for a few processes which are essential when it comes to creativity, invention, and imagination: mixing, connecting, and recombining ideas.

We mentioned Einstein and Jobs before.

Do you think that their grand ideas came to them out of the blue?

Of course not!

They just recombined some old ideas in a new way, once they had the step-back luxury of a “why” or a “why not.”

Einstein’s revelation came when he asked himself a fairly childlike question: “What if you could travel on a motorcycle at the speed of light?”

#3. Acquire the Perseverance of the Realist: Experiment Through the “How?”

Of course, once you’ve dealt with the whys and the what ifs – and moved from freshness of naivety to the endlessness of dreaming, it’s time that you transform your knowledge into something much more tangible.

In other words, it’s time for the how.

Of course, this third stage of the “actionable inquiry” process is the most difficult one, since it requires time, knowledge, experimentation, and a lot of endurance.

But, persevere long enough – and the sky is your limit.

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“A More Beautiful Question Quotes”

Don’t just teach your children to read. Teach them to question what they read. Teach them to question everything. Click To Tweet

The main premise of appreciative inquiry is that positive questions, focusing on strengths and assets, tend to yield more effective results than negative questions focusing on problems or deficits. Click To Tweet

Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air, and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you. Click To Tweet

I’ve always been very concerned with democracy. If you can’t imagine you could be wrong, what’s the point of democracy? And if you can’t imagine how or why others think differently, then how could you tolerate democracy? Click To Tweet

What if our schools could train students to be better lifelong learners and better adapters to change, by enabling them to be better questioners? Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

The best way to get the answers you need is to ask the questions you want to have answered.

And asking the right questions – as Warren Berger demonstrates in this book – is an art, and one of the highest order.

Thought-provoking and practical, rife with real-world examples and inspiring anecdotes, “A More Beautiful Question” is a fascinating book.

Possibly even of the kind that may make you question your present and inspire you to start working toward a better future.

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What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20 PDF Summary

What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20 PDFA Crash Course on Making Your Place in the World

Are you an angsty teenager or a somewhat lost student in your early twenties?

What would you give for a crash course of no more than 200 pages which may help you find – and even make – your place in the world?

The good news is – you don’t have to give anything.

Because, by proxy, we’re giving it for free:

Here’s the summary of Tina Seelig’s “What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20″!

Who Should Read “What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20”? And Why?

Someone – maybe George Bernard Shaw – once said that wisdom is squandered by the old, while youth is wasted on the young.

In other words: life would have been much better if we had the wisdom of our old selves in our younger years.

Fortunately – books such as this one make that possible.

And since the wisdom you’ll find here is actually timeless, you can even forget about the 20 from the title! It’s never too late to learn these things.

This is the kind of stuff I wish I knew now,” comments Guy Kawasaki. “Tina is doing us all a big favor by giving us a roadmap to life!

Tina SeeligAbout Tina Seelig

Tina Seelig – in the words of Robert Sutton (which most of her students share) – “is one of the most creative and inspiring teachers at Stanford.” Fittingly, the courses she teaches are on innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship.

She boasts with a uniquely diversified portfolio, having earned a Ph. D. in Neuroscience from Stanford Medical School, to subsequently work as a management consultant, a software producer, and an entrepreneur.

She has received many awards, such as the National Olympus Innovation Award, the SVForum Visionary Award, and the Gordon Prize from the National Academy of Engineering.

So far, she has written 17 books, including “inGenius: A Crash Course on Creativity” and “Insight Out.”

“What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20 PDF Summary”

According to Mag Jay, your twenties are the defining decade of your life.

If so, you better listen to Tina Seelig’s advice – since following even some of it may effectively redefine your life!

The best part: “What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20” is a short and entertaining book comprised of just ten easy-to-read impossible-to-forget chapters.

The first one, “Buy One, Get Two Free,” starts with an interesting question: “What would you do to earn money if all you had was five dollars and two hours?”

If your answer is “Buy a lottery ticket” or “Go to Las Vegas,” (or even set a lemonade stand), join the multitude: these are the answers most of Seelig’s students give.

However, the ones who actually end up earning the most money are those who don’t even use their five dollars. They reinterpret the problem and free themselves from the limitation: “What can we do to make money if we start with absolutely nothing?”

Don’t believe it’s possible?

Just think of Canadian blogger Kyle MacDonald, who started with one red paperclip and traded up his way to a two-story farmhouse in Kipling, Saskatchewan, in 14 transactions and no more than one year!

Indeed – everything is possible!

Removing the limitations of a problem may mean changing the world in the long run.

The catch is to see the problem as an opportunity!

And the second chapter, “The Upside-Down Circus,” uncovers how: Cirque du Soleil, for example, was created when Guy Laliberté, a Canadian street performer, decided to challenge every assumption about what a circus could be.

In doing so, he transformed the problem – the circus industry was all but dead at the time – into an opportunity and a success story.

Seelig uncovers the underlying philosophy of this transformation in Chapter 3, “Bikini or Die.”

Namely, you can take on impossible tasks if you just realize that no matter how good, every rule can (and is all but meant to) be broken:

Knowing that you can question the rules is terrifically empowering. It is a reminder that the traditional path is only one option available to you… there are boundless additional options to explore if you are willing to identify and challenge assumptions and to break free of the expectations that you and others project onto you.

There are always and everywhere things that can be improved!

Seelig uses an interesting exercise to prove this in her classes, telling her students: “Please, Take Out Your Wallets”– which is the title of chapter 4.

In no more than thirty minutes, all of her students (young, old, professionals, amateurs) realize that their wallets can be improved.

And, even better – some of the improvements “require little more than a good designer to make them feasible right away.”

So, why shouldn’t you at least give a try?

At worst, you’ll fail – and you’ll know how to do it better the next time!

After all, that’s “The Secret Sauce of Silicon Valley” (Chapter 5): a failing forward resume.

None of your idols – those entrepreneurial giants in Palo Alto – made it work from the start:

If you do take a risk and happen to fail, remember that you personally are not a failure… Keep in mind that failure is a natural part of the learning process. If you aren’t failing sometimes, then you probably aren’t taking enough risks.

In the sixth chapter – “No Way… Engineering is for Girls” – Seelig explains how one of the worst things you could do in life is guiding yourself by other people’s words and recommendations for a career.

Experiment!

Your goal is to “identify the intersection between your skills, your passions, and the market.”

Of course, sometimes you’re going to need some luck to “Turn Lemonade into Helicopters” (Chapter 7).

But, the best part is that the harder you work, the luckier you’ll get.

Even the Romans knew that: fortune favors the brave!

However, while you’re working hard, don’t forget that your life is interconnected with the lives of thousands and millions.

So, “Paint the Target Around the Arrows” (Chapter 8) and create a network of people who may help you in the future by helping them and, simply, being nice to them.

Don’t ask “Will This Be on the Exam” (Chapter 9): this is life and you have only one chance to live it! Everything is and will be on the exam.

In other words, your one and only life is not a good place to start quarrels, to not try, to miss opportunities or to look for excuses!

It’s the place and time for mounting a heap of “Experimental Artifacts” (Chapter 10) – the proof that you’ve given yourself permission to forge your own path through life!

Key Lessons from “What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20”

1.      Always Act Like You’re in a Foreign Country
2.      The Rule of Three May Change Your Life
3.      Never Miss an Opportunity to Be Fabulous

Always Act Like You’re in a Foreign Country

Remember that scene in “Friends” when Chandler finally sees New York?

The reason why he hadn’t seen it before – though spending all his life there – is quite simple: he thought he knew everything about it.

The truth is – he didn’t. None of us do.

So, if you want to see things from a different angle, learn how to be observant and open-minded, optimistic and friendly.  

Always act like you’re in a foreign country, aware of your surroundings and taking an interest in all things and people.

That way, you’ll actually see them.

The Rule of Three May Change Your Life

The Rule of Three is not a new concept: as Seelig informs us, the U.S. Marine Corps has used it for some time.

And that’s all the evidence you need that it works!

And what they’ve found is – through years of trial and error – that “most people can only track three things at once. As a result, the entire military system is designed to reflect this.”

So, limit yourself to three core priorities!

You can do the rest of them later.

Never Miss an Opportunity to Be Fabulous

We really like the ninth chapter, so we’ll leave it to Tina Seelig to cap this summary:

Never miss an opportunity to be fabulous… This means going beyond minimum expectations and acknowledging that you are ultimately responsible for your actions and the resulting outcomes. Life isn’t a dress rehearsal, and you won’t get a second chance to do your best.

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“What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20 Quotes”

There's a big difference between trying to do something and actually doing it. We often say we're trying to do something-losing weight, getting more exercise, finding a job. But the truth is, we're either doing it or not doing it. Click To Tweet

Never miss an opportunity to be fabulous. Click To Tweet

Attitude is perhaps the biggest determinant of what we can accomplish. Click To Tweet

Even though it is always difficult to abandon a project, it is much easier in the early stages of a venture, before there is an enormous escalation of committed time and energy. Click To Tweet

The bigger the problem, the bigger the opportunity. Nobody will pay you to solve a non-problem. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20” is one of those very special books which can turn your life around and which come only a few times in life.

Short and energetic, well-written and full of practical advice, it’s a book which will teach you how to look at the same problems from a different angle – which makes all the difference!

Once you finish it, this will become your new mantra: “Never miss an opportunity to be fabulous.”

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How We Got to Now Summary

How We Got to Now SummarySix Innovations That Made the Modern World

Do you want to learn how Chinese women abort their baby girls today because the Titanic sank in 1912? Or how the bikini trend owes its existence to the Chicago sewer system of the 1860s? Or, say, how mirrors started the Renaissance?

Then you will enjoy Steven Johnson’s “How We Got to Now.”

Who Should Read “How We Got to Now”? And Why?

If you’ve ever wondered how big ideas are born, then you’ve probably come across Steven Johnson’s popular TED Talk. If you liked it – then you’ll love this book.

In fact, anyone curious about innovation and related topics will love this book. The links it continually makes are so mindboggling and implausible that you are bound to be left guessing until the very end. When we predict an inevitable “Wow.”

About Steven Johnson

Steven JohnsonSteven Johnson is a bestselling American author whose books mainly focus on the intersections between different human endeavors, especially in science and technology.

A contributing editor to “Wired,” he has also founded three now-defunct websites you may know: “FEED” (one of the earliest online magazines), Plastic.com (a popular internet forum), and outside.in (acquired by AOL in 2011).

Johnson has written nine books, and most of them have received rave reviews. “

Entertainment Weekly” included his take on the 1854 cholera outbreak in London, “The Ghost Map,” among its top 10 non-fiction books of 2006. Four years later, “The Economist” named “Where Good Ideas Come From” one of the best books of the year.

Steven Johnson himself has received similar accolades: in 2010, “Prospect” magazine chose him as one of the “Top Ten Brains of the Digital Future.”

“How We Got to Now Summary”

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again:

Everything evolves.

However, evolution isn’t merely “the survival of the fittest.” It’s also often “the survival of the interconnected.”

You see, nothing evolves in isolation. And, consequently, symbiotic relationships are, by definition, all around us. So much so that Dorion Sagan and Lynn Margulis in “The Origins of Sex,” wrote quite aptly that “life did not take over the globe by combat, but by networking.”

Just take for example the problem ancient flowers might have had. Especially those that were living in areas bereaved of winds. With insects their only way to reproduce, they had to develop a system by which to attract them better.

Consequently, about 150 million years ago, they evolved colors and scents! And once they did that, they didn’t have to spend too much energy to be big. They were visible enough to allow themselves to be undersized.

But, this was great for insects as well – now they were able to find pollen much more easily. So, they had a better chance to reproduce themselves as well.

But it doesn’t stop there!

Because the evolution of flowers affected one specific nectarivore – the hummingbird. Because now that the flowers got smaller, the insects had an unfair advantage over them.

So as to be able to compete, the bee hummingbird – the smallest bird on earth – evolved to dwarfism. And even better – they developed metabolism and wings which allowed them to hover the same way insects do.

Ah, evolution, the greatest show on earth!

Before you scroll back to read the subtitle of “How We Got to Now” once again – no, this isn’t a book about the evolution of the natural world. It is about the evolution of human societies.

And the unsung heroes who made it possible.

Steven Johnson uses the story above to explain his central premise.

And to name it – appropriately – the Hummingbird Effect.

You already understand what it is intuitively.

Namely, that one simple innovation may open the doors to an entirely new world and launch a hundred more changes, most of them utterly unexpected.

Sometimes, making the connection between the last and the first of them may seem far-fetched; but, even so, it gives the right perspective.

And if you have an hour or so, you can have Steven Johnson explain to you his theory and few chains of unexpected connections to you in detail here:

Of course, if you have six hours, you can watch the six-part BBC series, “How We Got to Now,” which is, obviously, based on this book.

As for us – we’ll use our “Key Lessons” section to retell you the book, and, consequently, the series.

So, spoiler alert!

Key Lessons from “How We Got to Now”

1.      You Would Have Known Less About Yourself If It Wasn’t for Glass
2.      The Future of Families Goes Back to the Discovery of Frozen Fish
3.      There Are More Chinese Baby Boys than Girls Because of the Titanic
4.      Fashion Changed in the 1960s Because Chicago Was Raised in the 1860s
5.      The Railway Network Transformed the Idea of “Being on Time”
6.      Light Bulbs Saved the Whales and, in Time, Transformed the Slums

You Would Have Known Less About Yourself If It Wasn’t for Glass

Glass is so ubiquitous nowadays that you don’t even stop to think how the world would have looked without it.

Steven Johnson has:

“A world without glass would strike at the foundation of modern progress: the extended lifespans that come from understanding the cell, the virus, and the bacterium; the genetic knowledge of what makes us human; the astronomer’s knowledge of our place in the universe. No material on Earth mattered more to those conceptual breakthroughs than glass.”

You see, glass mirrors – as you know them today – didn’t exist before the 1400s. Consequently, the idea of the self-portrait didn’t exist either. And mirrors gave artists another advantage: they were now able to study perspective better.

In other words, the Renaissance owes a lot to glass and mirrors. And the Renaissance, coincidentally, was the first period of history when people became self-reflective.

Fast forward, and you have lenses and glasses – which made it possible for some people to read even deep into their old age. And for others to build telescopes and microscopes and see the invisible world all around us.

The Future of Families Goes Back to the Discovery of Frozen Fish

Clarence Frank Birdseye is not a name you hear very often. Chances are – you don’t even know who he is. And yet – soon enough, the human societies may move in a previously unforeseen direction because of his invention.

You see, Birdseye is the father of the modern frozen food industry. He discovered fast freezing while ice fishing with the Inuit.

Now, we use the same method to preserve human eggs and semen, which makes it possible for people to plan for a family even when biologically they can’t have one.

Strange, ha?

There Are More Chinese Baby Boys than Girls Because of the Titanic

Talking about the unexpected, right?

You all know the story of the “Titanic,” right? How could you not – you’ve heard it millions of times and watched at least two or three films and documentaries about it.

Neither of them mentioned Reginald Fessenden, i.e., the Canadian who was inspired by the sinking of the Titanic to invent the sonar.

Imitating the echolocatory practices of some marine animals (whales, dolphins), the sonar would have helped the Titanic locate the iceberg before hitting it.

And it also helps modern mothers to see how their babies are doing before they are even born.

However, in China, where there was a strict one-child policy until three years ago, this resulted in a 118:100 ratio between boys and girls. Meaning: people were using the ultrasound to practice sex-selective abortions.

Fashion Changed in the 1960s Because Chicago Was Raised (Literally!) in the 1860s

People tend to forget that until about a century and a half ago, every glass of water was a game of Russian roulette. The water wasn’t clean – and people died merely by drinking polluted water.

So, after six percent of Chicago’s population died from cholera in 1854, an engineer by the name of Ellis S. Chesbrough made a plan to install a citywide sewerage system, the first of its kind in the world.

His solution?

To physically raise the city on hydraulic jacks!

We’re not joking: this actually happened!

A century later, people were finally able to bathe in city rivers. And the bikini became “the atom bomb of fashion.”

The Railway Network Transformed the Idea of “Being on Time”

It may be unimaginable nowadays, but up to the middle of the 19th century, there was no way you can go from coast to coast and orient yourself in time with a single clock.

That’s because most cities had a different time, which they adjusted locally. Ten or twenty minutes between neighboring cities was not an issue back when there was no industry, working hours, or international companies.

However, once rail transport and telecommunications conquered America, “being on time” became both essential and unattainable concept.

So, William F. Allen lobbied exhaustively for a standardization. And after hundreds and hundreds of letters, he finally made it.

On Sunday, November 18, 1883 – “The Day of Two Noons” – each railroad station clock in the United States was reset and standard-time noon was reached within each of the newly devised five time zones.

A year later, the world followed.

And now – you can be somewhere “on time.”

Light Bulbs Saved the Whales and, in Time, Transformed the Slums

Before the light bulb was invented – by, basically, everybody in the world – people used candles. And these were made from wax found in the skulls of sperm whales.

Do you really have to know the rest of the story?

Fortunately, the light bulb didn’t need whales to function. And even better – it led to inventions such as flash photography. This helped Jacob Riis – a muckraker – take some photographs of the impoverished parts of the United States, specifically the Five Points neighborhood in New York.

And soon enough, the government bought the area, and instead of a neighborhood, there was a park there already by the end of the 19th century.

Scientists say that this may have saved New York from an epidemics of cholera.

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How We Got to Now Quotes

Most discoveries become imaginable at a very specific moment in history, after which point multiple people start to imagine them. Click To Tweet Innovations usually begin life with an attempt to solve a specific problem, but once they get into circulation, they end up triggering other changes that would have been extremely difficult to predict. Click To Tweet The march of technology expands the space of possibility around us, but how we explore that space is up to us. Click To Tweet Humans had proven to be unusually good at learning to recognize visual patterns; we internalize our alphabets so well we don’t even have to think about reading once we’ve learned how to do it. Click To Tweet The larger question is, as virologist Jonas Salk once asked, ‘Are we being good ancestors?’ Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“How We Got to Now” is a vintage Steven Johnson. Beautifully written, it reads like a chain of interconnected stories with unexpected twists. “The New York Times Book Review” said it best:

“You’re apt to find yourself exhilarated… Johnson is not composing an etiology of particular inventions but doing something broader and more imaginative… a graceful and compelling book.”

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How to Create a Mind Summary

How to Create a Mind SummaryThe Secret of Human Thought Revealed

Humans are capable of doing so many things computers will never be, right?

Show me a computer capable of thinking, writing symphonies, loving, etc. – and I’ll show you a flying pig.

Don’t put your mouth where your money is, says Ray Kurzweil. Because you will need to breed a whole new race of pigs in a decade or so.

How to Create a Mind” explains why – and how – computers will start writing symphonies.

Who Should Read “How to Create a Mind”? And Why?

Ray Kurzweil’s predictions comprise the wettest of futurists’ dreams. And even though “How to Create a Mind” doesn’t state anything new of this sort, every futurist and curious SF thinker has already bought this book by now.

The rest should read it to find what all the fuss is about. Because even if you know nothing about AI and neuroscience, this may be a good time to start learning about it.

At least if you believe Ray Kurzweil and this book.

About Ray Kurzweil

Ray KurzweilRay Kurzweil is a prize-winning scientist, writer, and futurist.

A winner of MIT’s “Inventor of the Year” prize in 1988, Carnegie Mellon’s top science Dickson Prize six years later and “National Medal of Technology and Innovation” in 1999, Kurzweil has so far received at least 21 honorary doctorates, and special honors from three different U.S. presidents.

He has invented numerous things, ranging from the first omni-font OCR (optical character recognition) to the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, from the first flatband scanner to the first commercial text-to-speech synthesizer.

So, you could say that he’s partially responsible for the Siris, Alexas, and Cortanas you talk to on a daily basis.

Unsurprisingly, in 2002, Kurzweil was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

He has authored numerous articles and books, including “The Singularity Is Near.”

“How to Create a Mind Summary”

Westworld’s second season premiered last night on HBO.

And we felt that there was no better moment to provide you with a summary of a book titled “How to Create a Mind.”

Especially if it is brought to you by a man who has not only been described by “Forbes” as “the ultimate thinking machine,” but who also has an entire Wikipedia article listing his predictions about the future.

And there’s more where that came from!

Ladies and gentlemen, please join us in unraveling the secret of human thought with the one and only Ray Kurzweil, aka the guy who gave humanity flatbad scanners, optical character recognition, print-to-speech reading machines, and text-to-speech synthesizers!

In a nutshell – someone who definitely knows more than most about how our brain may function, based on his work with artificial brains.

And is there a better way to start a book on thoughts other than with few thought experiments?

Let’s try them out.

First, the simplest: recite the alphabet.

Piece of cake, right?

OK, now recite it backward.

Doesn’t feel as easy, does it?

In fact, chances are, you’re incapable of reciting the alphabet backward no matter how much you try. Even though, if you think about it, you should have no problem: you know all the letters, and you’ve used them thousands and thousands of times.

And, most importantly, you just recited them the other way around!

So, what’s the problem?

We’ll get to that in a second.

But, before, try with us another thought experiment. This time, try to visualize a person you’ve seen only once or twice in your whole life. If you can’t think of any, try thinking about your short trip to the local store this morning.

Can you envisage even one single person of the few you passed by?

No, you can’t.

Kurzweil thinks that these thought experiments reveal something much more than the fact that, essentially, your memory sucks.

Namely, that everybody’s memory sucks in the same way. And that this should give us a hint on how our brain is actually doing its job.

You thought that only computers follow specific algorithms?

Guess again: you do too!

So much so that, in fact, human consciousness pioneer Benjamin Libet has proposed that even your free will may be an illusion!

Kurzweil concurs.

Since, according to him, these experiments show that your brain is also merely – OK, in strictly relative terms – doing hierarchical statistical analysis.

And by brain, we actually mean your neocortex, which, according to Kurzweil is where the magic actually happens.

We all know that the neocortex is the most advanced part of our brains and is what makes us so different from the rest of the animal world.

Now, according to Kurzweil, this is because the human neocortex contains about 300 million hierarchically arranged general pattern recognizers. And, as the thought experiments we explained above prove, these pattern recognizers aren’t interested in sounds, images, videos, or smells.

The only thing they are interested in is patterns.

That’s why you can’t recite the alphabet backward – it should be easy if your brain remembered information and data. But if your brain remembers patterns, reciting the alphabet back or playing a song from the middle is the same as starting to read a book from page 147.

That’s why you can’t remember people you’ve only seen once or twice in your life as well. In fact, police profilers intuitively know this, so they stimulate the memory of witnesses by showing them different types of eyes, brows, or mouths.

Because, as Marcel Proust taught us, there’s a particular type of memory, involuntary memory, which is triggered once an external stimulus hits the right note of the pattern.

You know what we’re talking about!

You can’t remember a song even though someone is singing the middle part of it. But, then someone sings the right sequence and the middle section falls neatly into place!

Finally, pattern recognition is why all of the memory techniques memory champions advise us to use are pattern-related. And even more – hierarchically ordered.

Now, if your brain works this way – i.e., as if an automat – shouldn’t computer scientists be capable of creating an artificial mind?

Yes, they should.

And in Kurzweil’s opinion – using hidden Markov models and genetic algorithms – they inevitably will by 2029.

Why shouldn’t they?

Intel has already devised a way to trick the limitations of Moore’s law by inventing 3D processors. Japan’s supercomputers are already capable of running 1016 calculations per second – which is just as much as a digital neocortex will need to function.

Finally, the data it should store – around 20 billion bytes (300 million patterns * 72 bytes) amounts to no more than 20 GB, i.e., the size of your USB.

Because, as it has been proven over and over again in the past – whether in science or art – it’s not the amount of data that’s important; it’s the actual and potential interconnections inside it.

So, brace for it – Kurzweil claims that AI humanoids indistinguishable by brain power from humans will become a reality in less than 12 years.

We guess the remaining question at this point is: should you believe Kurzweil?

Well, remember the list with predictions we mentioned at the beginning of this summary? It was made back in 1989. And in October 2010, twenty years later, Kurzweil published a PDF titled “How My Predictions Are Faring.”

In 147 pages, the document lists as many predictions. 12 of them are deemed to be “essentially correct,” 17 “partially correct” and 3 – “wrong.”

As for the rest 115?

Let us write this in all caps because it’s that important:

ENTIRELY CORRECT.

Ladies and gentlemen, set your watches: we’re about 12 years away from real-life “Westworld.”

For better or for worse, the countdown commences.

Key Lessons from “How to Create a Mind”

1.      Pattern Recognition Theory of Mind
2.      Welcome to Searle’s Chinese Room: How Do You Know You’re Not a Machine?
3.      The Untethered Artificial Mind: The Artificial Mind Which Learns

Pattern Recognition Theory of Mind

How do we think?

Do we think through data, logic, images, sounds, smells?

Neither, says Ray Kurzweil: we think only and exclusively through patterns.

Our neocortex contains about 300 million general pattern recognition circuits which hierarchically structure our memory and experiences.

In other words, if we translate this into practical example (say, how we read), the process looks something like this.

Namely, some of these recognizers are low-level and see only straight and diagonal lines. But, they transmit this information to the higher echelons which are then capable of recognizing letters. These pass on the message to the word-level recognizers, etc. etc.

The information moves back and forth and, based on previous patterns, in time, the recognizers learn to predict the info ahead. That’s how speech recognition works, and that’s why sometimes you see transcribed YouTube captions revealing words before you hear them.

That is your brain as well.

And yes – it gets a bit strange from here on.

Welcome to Searle’s Chinese Room: How Do You Know You’re Not a Machine?

You see, back in 1980, philosopher John Searle made the distinction between weak AI and strong AI based on a simple experiment.

Say you make a program capable of taking Chinese characters as inputs, analyzing them profoundly and giving the expected outcome. And say this program is so convincing that even a Chinese can’t see anything wrong with it and, thus, it passes the Turing test.

The question is: does the program really understands Chinese?

Searle argued against this, by claiming that if he is locked in a room with the machine’s in-programmed manual, and receives the same inputs under the door, he should be able to give the same answers back by merely following the same instructions the machine does.

However, he doesn’t speak a word of Chinese.

Kurzweil says: OK, that may be true.

But what if your brain works the same way?

Let’s not forget that Watson destroyed the best humans in Jeopardy!

In Jeopardy!

The Untethered Artificial Mind: The Artificial Mind Which Learns

It’s time you stopped thinking about machines in terms of programs – unless you start thinking about yourself in the very same way.

In other words, our brains are nothing less – or more – than a pattern recognizing structures. However, this is such a powerful method to acquire new information that it has got us – humans – to a place where we are capable of creating other creatures similar to us.

Because once we perfect a brain capable of recognizing patterns (and we’re already there: think speech recognition), we will essentially create a machine capable of teaching itself. And since a machine’s neocortex can be improved, in time, we will be able to develop machines which will be vastly superior to us.

That’s right: we’re talking about a new species.

Homo deus.

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“How to Create a Mind Quotes”

In mathematics you don’t understand things. You just get used to them. (via John von Neumann) Click To Tweet We are a pattern that changes slowly but has stability and continuity, even though the stuff constituting the pattern changes quickly. Click To Tweet The evolution of animal behavior does constitute a learning process, but it is learning by the species, not by the individual, and the fruits of this learning process are encoded in DNA. Click To Tweet Human beings have only a weak ability to process logic, but a very deep core capability of recognizing patterns. To do logical thinking, we need to use the neocortex, which is basically a large pattern recognizer. Click To Tweet Philosophy is a kind of halfway house for questions that have not yet yielded to the scientific method. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“How to Create a Mind” may be uneven and repetitive at times, but, even so, it’s exceptional. Some have deemed its subtitle a bit overpromising, but to others, the book actually manages to give us the most complete theory on how we may think.

Now, if Kurzweil is right about that, then creating an artificial mind is not far ahead. And if that is true, then you reading this book should become a reality in the following weeks.

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